As the cost of living continues to rise, support to get people out of debt and poverty has never been more needed. But what’s it like to be one of the people working day after day to help and advise others in financial crisis?
Aimie is a Senior Debt Advisor at Christians Against Poverty, and has thirteen years of experience in guiding people out of the quagmire of debt into freedom. As well as expertise in budgeting and debt advice, she has a wealth of inspirational stories of God breaking into situations in powerful ways.
Aimie says: ‘We are looking after each person on their journey to becoming debt free. So we’ll help with ongoing negotiations with their creditors. We will keep their budget up to date and hopefully reach that point where we can celebrate and let them know that they’re debt free, and start that new chapter of their life.’
And there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate, just like Aimie describes. Since 2010, CAP has helped more than 20,000 people become debt free. But in the last couple of years, there have been some big changes in the landscape of debt and poverty. Now Aimie and her team have to contend with the increasing challenges brought by the cost of living crisis.
‘If the cost of living has taught us anything, it’s that you can’t expect things to stay the same. They will change.’
‘An unsustainable budget basically means when you have more outgoings than the money you have coming in. We’ve seen clients who had been working well on their debt solution to become debt free, repaying their debts monthly. Sadly, what’s been happening more and more is people’s budgets are becoming unsustainable. And it’s not because they’re making poor budgeting choices, and it’s not because they want to keep up with the Joneses. It’s that the same things they were buying this time last year now cost more. So we are seeing clients who’ve been doing really well repaying their debts and now through no fault of their own, the money they receive doesn’t cover as much as they need it to.’
It can be tough, even heartbreaking, to see clients you’ve supported for months or even years struggling. Thankfully, there are also incredible stories of hope and even miraculous breakthrough for CAP’s clients. ‘There are moments where you’re like, that’s God at work in your life, that’s not an accident. I think back to one particular story a client shared with me where she said ‘this has to have been God, how could it be anything else?’ She just heard a still small voice in her mind of “I feel like I need to go into a garage with my car”. So she did, and the mechanic said, “it is such a good job you came in today, because if you went at any great speed, your wheel was going to come off”.
‘Very recently I had an opportunity to speak to one of our clients and pray with him. He was experiencing a close bereavement for the first time in his life and didn’t feel like he had anyone to turn to, because his dad and brother took the view ‘you just shrug it off and get on with it’ but this loss had hit him really hard. So I talked with him about what it means to grieve and spent some time praying and at the end of that call he said that it really helped him.’
‘My faith is one of the main reasons why I am working at CAP. I think a really interesting element of what we do here at CAP is the marriage between social justice and evangelism. And it’s so great to see people become free from their debts and often finding freedom through Jesus at the same time.’
If you’d like to support someone financially to get free from debt in this cost of living crisis, we’re asking people to give £19 a month for nine months to see someone who’s drowning in debt move towards a hopeful future.
Your monthly donation of £19 for 9 months could take a family from their first call to CAP to becoming debt free through a Debt Relief Order.
Every person’s route out of debt looks different. CAP takes into account each person’s situation, and our professional Debt Advisors establish a bespoke, structured route out of debt that’s suitable for each and every person’s individual circumstances.